I sit in my living room, candle lit, copal burning, drinking an infusion of red clover, motherwort, rose and lavender, thinking about time. Today marks nine years since my mom passed from this world into the next. Nine years since her body stopped anchoring her spirit to this realm. I contemplate what the true significance of this day is when she was in a coma for a year and a half before she passed. Because really, when I think about it, it’s been over ten years since I’ve heard her voice or seen her outside of a hospital bed. It’s been over ten years since we could call each other on the phone. It’s been over ten years since I could hug her and receive a hug in return. So, what does it mean that nine years ago today I watched as her body, which had not moved of its own accord in over a year, slowly slid into silence? I had experienced sudden loss when she was hospitalized in April 2008 and then again when she went into a coma two months later. After spending my entire freshman year of college drowning in unacknowledged grief displaced onto any bottle, bummed cigarette or boy who would show me the time of day, November 20, 2009 felt like a relief. It marked finality. It made my story easier to tell. Not that I wanted to tell it, or told it at all, but, “my mom is dead” is less ambiguous than “my mom is in a coma.” I have to believe that death was a relief for her as well. While in a coma she was suspended between worlds, a body still bound to a place with a soul unbound to the confines of physicality. With death she was free. We were free. Without a body she was simply spirit, a soul. A soul I could call on in my darkest moments, a soul sending me messages as I move through the world, a soul who felt closer than a body ever could. So, it might have been over ten years since I’ve heard her say my name, but just this morning she sent me a hummingbird to remind me that all I have to do is look and I can find her. Today marks nine years of knowing that we are both free to love each other in a new way. Nine years of never having to leave her behind and instead taking with me as I travel to foreign lands and swim in distant seas. Nine years of constant reminders that we’re still connected beyond blood and bone, that she has transcended beyond her body into the very air that I breathe, that she is everywhere.